Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick has directed Super Eagles’ Manager, Gernot Rohr to monitor domestic competitions for players for his team. Pinnick said the continued dependence on players based overseas was undermining the development of Nigerian football, noting that inviting 23 foreign-based stars for a match against lowly-rated teams like Seychelles was a waste of resources.
Speaking on a radio programme monitored in Lagos yesterday, Pinnick agreed that talents abound in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL), adding that they needed encouragement to get to the desired level.
He said, “Gernot Rohr’s continuous focus on foreign-based players for national team’s assignments is not right. If he uses foreign-based players against a team like Seychelles, I wonder what would happen when we play against big teams like Cameroon and the others.
“Rohr should imitate Super Falcons’ coach, who is always in the country sourcing for domestic talents for his team.”
Pinnick also revealed that he had been told of Rohr’s reservations about Super Eagles playing an international friendly against Uganda in Asaba, adding, however, that the coach had no right to choose the venue Nigeria’s senior national team would play their matches.
“Rohr has not told me anything on the Asaba venue yet. Based on the situation on ground, when a state government decides to sponsor about 70 per cent of a game, it will go a long way to settle some issues. With my experience as a football administrator, with due respect to the coach, the Asaba pitch is okay for the Super Eagles to play. I will call Rohr to clarify the statement,” he added.
The NFF president disclosed that Coach Salisu Yusuf would return to his job as Super Eagles’ assistant coach after serving his suspension over alleged bribery.
“Salisu Yusuf would come back as the Eagles assistant coach after his suspension. He still has a contract with the NFF.
“It is not that I am supporting Salisu Yusuf for what he did. In life, there is nobody that has not fallen short of anything one way or the other. The coach has realised his mistakes and he needs to be forgiven.
“If God could forgive us for our sins, who are we as human beings not to forgive others. In the Bible, Jesus Christ told the people, whoever had not committed sin before should cast the first stone on a woman who committed sin. That is a symbol of forgiveness,” he said.
AWCON 2018: Dennerby Out To Prove Doubters Wrong
The 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) kicks off in Ghana this weekend. Nigeria’s Super Falcons will be defending the AWCON title won two years ago in Cameroon, seeking to add another triumph to their past accolades.
The continent’s most successful national team almost by rote, they go into the tournament once again as massive favourites. This makes the continued lip service paid to them somewhat difficult to understand. Less than a fortnight ago, much to the chagrin of many in the industry, the team embarked on the final leg of preparation in Abidjan clad in casual mufti, looking very much like a rag-tag bunch hastily assembled at a moment’s notice.
It was a damning microcosm of the levity with which the nation’s women’s teams, and women’s football in general, is treated. Predictably, what followed was hand-wringing, apologies and a bizarre explanation centred on kits being stuck at customs.
While in Ivory Coast, the team proceeded to face the ASEC Mimosas’ under-16 Boys team. Undeniably the level of opposition the Nigeria Football Federation seems to believe the Falcons will have to contend with in Ghana. However, it all rankles on so many levels.
It seems, sometimes, the football authorities feel the need to put obstacles in the way of our own athletes. It is a weird, and unseemly way to foster resilience. Apologies are simply not good enough when nothing ever changes.
Besides, there is a feeling that this year’s edition might not be the foregone conclusion that it has always been.
The host country, Ghana will have the home support behind them and will draw confidence from their WAFU tournament victory earlier this year, even though that competition only permitted home-based players.
Cameroon and South Africa will also be competitive, but perhaps the biggest threat comes from Equatorial Guinea, who are the only other nation to have won this tournament previously. Though initially expelled after Kenya lodged a complaint about player eligibility, the two-time winners were re-admitted and will be precarious. They will compete out of Group B, same as the Falcons, and should both nations progress, it even sets up the prospect of a final rematch, a repeat of the riveting 2010 final which the Falcons won 4-2.
This implies that there is a tremendous amount of pressure on Swedish manager Thomas Dennerby. He comes with some pedigree, having led Sweden to a third-place finish in the Women’s World Cup, but that was seven years ago. This job will be a far sterner examination of his abilities
He has the hardest job of anyone who has ever managed the Super Falcons. There is a suspicion that, with the outstanding record of success on the continent, just about anyone can coach the team to victory at an AWCON. As such, there will be a greater focus on the ‘How’ – his methods and the manner in which the team plays.
Like a curveball, the AWCON will serve as a FIFA Women’s World Cup eliminator, with the top three sides in Ghana earning a ticket to represent the continent next year in France. A quantum leap for Nigeria will also be expected on that front.
In terms of talent, Dennerby still has the finest assortment to choose from in the competition. If anything, he will face a bit of a headache when it comes to picking, especially in the forward positions where the likes of Asisat Oshoala, Desire Oparanozie, Francisca Ordega will compete for positions. There is also the youngster Rasheedat Ajibade, highly rated and making her first appearance at an AWCON.
If Dennerby can bring them all together, it would go some way toward convincing his doubters, that his appointment has not simply been a waste of scarce resources. It would also give hope of better days to come.
SA Stadium Manager Worries That Nigerian Fans Will Outnumber Hosts
Despite the fact that the South African team will be hosts, reports have shown that Nigeria has a large presence in Johannesburg, and this has stirred up worry for Grobbelaar who acknowledged that their renowned love for football means they could throng the arena more than their hosts.
In their previous match against Seychelles, the South African team played in an almost empty stadium.
Grobbelaar has now admitted that the situation has led to awareness campaigns and offer of freebies, to ensure South Africans show the same zeal they give to matches between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
He admitted; “We are worried by the low numbers. We are playing against one of the best teams on the continent and our biggest rivals.”
NBBF Men’s League To Hold As Scheduled
The Nigeria Basketball Federation has said the men’s league will hold as scheduled despite two clubs – Gombe Bulls and Kwara Falcons – dragging it to an Abuja high court over their rights to represent the country in the FIBA Africa Zone 3 club championship.
Gombe and Falcons were the two finalists of the 2018 Kwese Premier Basketball League, which was organised by the Tijjani Umar faction of the NBBF.
But the NBBF under the leadership of Musa Ahmadu-Kida recently said it would organise an abridged league from November 13 to 17 to determine the country’s representatives in the tournament, which holds from November 20 to 25 in Benin Republic.
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